We are continuing our northern migration. After a 6 hour sail from Pearl Beach to Swansea on Friday, we had a big day on Saturday: not only did we spend the whole day in shorts and Tshirts, but for the first time ever, we made our own water! Last week Sue, our good NSW Postie had brought with her the bits and pieces we had ordered along the way, including our new inverter to run the watermaker.
We assembled the H20, then when ready we flicked the power switch as we held our breath… and it worked! It took a while to get set up, partly because we were double checking everything with so many pipes and connectors. But once all set, we made 120 litres in two hours. It is a bit of a rigmarole as being a mobile unit you have to set it up and pack it away afterwards, but we guess it will get easier as we learn the steps. Our batteries did go down a bit as we expected (down 2 out of 10 units on our gauge), but they did not take long to recover. The trick is to pick a reasonably sunny or windy day so you put in 25 to 30 amps an hour, and within two hours they were back to full charge. All in all we are happy: independence from town water at last, and we did not blow our money!
While in Swansea we were on a courtesy mooring, just before the bridge that lifts up by arrangement to give access to Lake Macquarie. The moorings are really handy to town, with a small floating jetty to leave the dinghy at, so we did a few chores – laundry and reprovisioning – but did not bother to go into the lake, being there for just a couple of days only.
Sunday we had a slow sail to Port Stephens under spinnaker (4 to 6 knots), intending to explore there while the northerlies blow. We have stopped at Port Stephens a few times, but never long enough to go right in. Port Stephens is larger in area than Sydney Harbour, so there is plenty to discover!
We are relaxing and getting into a rhythm. It still has not sunk in that we are retired and this is our life now. It feels like we are on holidays, only we don’t have a particular destination in mind. At least we are enjoying the journey now with the warmer weather. Even Bengie seems happier: doing deck patrols, unphased by dinghy rides, keen to go ‘walkies’, and spending less time snoozing, well a little less! She is an expert at following the sun.
It is late afternoon, the sun is streaming into the cabin, we have music playing, the boat is doing its usual change of tide dance, and it all feels pretty good.
Here is a gallery of photos taken since leaving Pearl Beach.